Subpart B of 5 C.F.R. part 2635 governs gifts from outside sources. An executive branch employee is prohibited from accepting a gift from a “prohibited source” or given because of the employee’s official position, unless an exclusion or exception applies. A “gift” is defined to mean anything of monetary value (for which the employee does not pay market value), so the term may encompass an award or other mark of recognition.
Note: See 5 U.S.C. § 7342 and the relevant agency’s implementing regulation, if any, if the award or mark of recognition is from a foreign government or an international or multinational organization composed of foreign governments.
The several exclusions from the definition of “gift” are set out in 5 C.F.R. § 2635.203(b). If something falls within an exclusion, it can be accepted because it is not considered to be a gift at all. Section 2635.204 sets out the exceptions, and section 2635.202 includes provisions that limit the use of the exceptions. More specifically, notwithstanding an exception, an employee may not:
If an employee is offered an award or other mark of recognition, the following exclusions or exceptions are most likely to be relevant:
The information on this page is not a substitute for individual advice. Agency ethics officials should be consulted about specific situations.